Question for K12 Summer learning loss experts

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Sean Haskell

Nov 2, 2021, 11:36:03 AM11/2/21
to Learning Engineering
Hi friends,

I'm hoping to solve some issues involving learning retention across all areas of the education system. One of the most poignant examples of learning loss that I've come across is K12 summer learning loss. I know the effects likely vary drastically across different school systems and demographics, but I was wondering if any of the experts here could help me understand how bad this problem is. I've seen some estimates online suggesting that making up for summer learning loss typically requires about 6 weeks of teaching each year, but I haven't been able to find recent literature backing this up. Could anybody help me understand this problem or point me in the direction of a source where I could get a recent estimate of the costs of K12 learning loss?



Greer, Eunice

Nov 2, 2021, 12:05:04 PM11/2/21
to Sean Haskell, Learning Engineering


I suggest you get in touch with Ann McGill Franzen.  She’s researched summer reading loss, related to reading, for a long time, and is an outstanding researcher.  We had her speak at a recent conference.  Here’s her brief bio and email address: 




Anne McGill-Franzen is Professor Emerita at the University of Tennessee. The focus of her professional work has been on struggling readers - including practice and policy that support or constrain teachers’ efforts. McGill-Franzen directed a project to build teachers’ expertise in early literacy and co-directed a federal longitudinal study to mediate the summer achievement gap in high-poverty minority schools. She recently replicated the summer book fair study in poor rural communities. McGill-Franzen has been the recipient of several IRA research awards in early literacy and reading disabilities.

If it is helpful, you can tell here I referred you to her.

This is important stuff!



Eunice Greer
Sr. Research Scientist
National Center for Education Statistics
Tel: 202 245 6968

550 12th Street SW
Washington, DC 20202


U.S. Department of Education


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Karen Sorensen

Nov 5, 2021, 11:41:49 PM11/5/21
to Learning Engineering
Just wonder if there is any research done on the type of content that was delivered versus the  "learning loss". I have a hypothesis that if the content was focused on teaching to the test, not on actually retention of the content--then the student has "learning loss". If this takes place, then could it be considering learning to begin with? 

Sean Haskell

Nov 18, 2021, 6:21:41 PM11/18/21
to Learning Engineering
I think that's a really great point. Exams have been a necessary evil for a long time, but more often than not lead to teaching to the material rather than focusing on holistic, retainable learning. I love the last line in your comment though, would be a great one for the pitch.

Priyank Sharma

Nov 20, 2021, 12:57:47 AM11/20/21
to Learning Engineering
I will just add that the summer "learning loss" needs to be looked in the backdrop of what do (/can) students learn instead? I think there's a huge focus on "learning indicators" but to me, high learning indicators would mean something only if the students are able to situate those learnings in non-formal environments. 
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